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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, March 20, 2017
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Guv backs sugarmen

Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. yesterday said the provincial government is in solidarity with the sugar industry in its campaign against the unregulated importation of the high fructose corn syrup.

Anchored on data presented by the Sugar Regulatory Administration, the volume of HFCS inflow being consumed by soda and beverage companies is equivalent to more than 5 Million 50kg bags of sugar, he said.

Imagine the far-reaching effect of this importation to then economy and to the millions in the labor sector, Marañon said.

He said millions of small farmers and agrarian reform beneficiaries and their families will greatly suffer as they are highly dependent on this commodity for their livelihood.

Medical studies also indicate that consuming HFCS results to various life-threatening diseases, including diabetes, the governor said.

In a statement yesterday Sugar Watch, a multi-sectoral group organized by Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries and farm workers, also called onNegrenses and the entire country to rally behind the campaign against the massive importation of HFCS.

Sugar Watch called for a national boycott of all Coca Cola products.

Meanwhile, Ben Tundag, PartidoManggagawa Negros chairperson, said that globalization that led to free trade agreements among nations is the root cause of the entry of HFCS into the country that is driving the local sugar industry in peril.

Starting 2011 up to the present, HFCS has been imported from China and South Korea and used as substitute sweetener by giant beverage companies and food processors products in the Philippines threatening the downfall of locally produced sugarcane based granulated sugar, he added.

The HFCS is cheap, easy for handling, and it short-cuts the long chain of production process that saves millions of dollars for production cost, he mentioned.

So, the real enemy of the sugar industry are the international agreements on trade and the economic policies of the Philippine government, Tundag added.

“PartidoManggagawa will support other stakeholders in the industry fighting against the entry of HFCS if, together, we will join hands against globalization and for the protection of sugar workers,” he said.*CPG



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